POLL: Mick McCarthy says talk of starting with four strikers against Leicester is ‘a pile of nonsense’
Ipswich Town supporters looking forward to seeing their side’s new cavalier approach will be disappointed tomorrow, manager Mick McCarthy revealing he will be reverting to a structured 4-4-2 system for the visit of second-place Leicester City to Portman Road.
After a string of uninspiring attacking displays, the Blues boss switched to a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation when his side found themselves 1-0 down at Blackpool. With all four strikers – Paul Taylor, Daryl Murphy, Frank Nouble and David McGoldrick – on the pitch, the Blues came storming back to secure a dramatic 3-2 win.
A ‘kids for a quid’ ticket offer is set to attract the highest crowd of the season at Portman Road tomorrow, but McCarthy says he cannot risk starting with such an attack-minded system against a team who he is tipping for the title.
“They (the fans) are not going to see it,” said McCarthy. “It’s a pile of nonsense. What am I going to do, start with all my strikers on the pitch, then find ourselves not playing as well, 1-0 down and then have to take strikers off and put defenders on? No.
“It worked at Blackpool and I think it could work again, but the team that starts won’t be the one that finished.”
He continued: “We changed the system and ended up playing more like Blackpool in the second half. Leicester are coming here and will be 4-4-2. If they don’t then you can slap me with a wet copy of the Radio Times. I’d be very surprised if they don’t. They are one of the better teams at playing that formation and that’s what we’ll be playing too.
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“I’ve made that mistake once before in my career, when we played really well with all the strikers on and then I stuck with it for the next game and it didn’t work. I won’t con myself or get conned into doing it.
“I think Leicester are the best team in the league. They’ve been playing together for a long time most of them. If anyone else beats them this year in the league then they’ll have had to do very well.”
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Meanwhile, McCarthy confirmed that centre-back Tommy Smith trained with the Blues this morning after returning from international duty with New Zealand.
“He got back this morning and is fine,” said the Blues boss. “He did take a knock to his leg on Wednesday, and to his ego too probably having been well beaten, but he’s such a good pro. He reported the knock, he’s travelled back, had a kip on the flight and was back in here training this morning.”
The Blues boss also confirmed that winger Paul Anderson, who missed the win at Blackpool with a groin problem, has been back in training all week and is available for selection.